FOLLOWING A €6M refurbishment, Lahinch Leisure Centre has reopened to the public.

Not alone has the facility got a new name, significant investment and different staff but it has also managed to put in place one of the finest views to be experienced from a treadmill in the country. The first floor gym looks directly out onto the Atlantic Ocean in what is one of the most picturesque scenes any fitness enterprise in the world is able to boast about. It is also one of the leading leisure centres across the country when it comes to sustainability – more on this in next week’s Clare Echo.

Photograph: Natasha Barton

Formerly known as Lahinch Seaworld, the centre includes facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, learner pool, sauna, jacuzzi and stream room.

Management have said up to 17 people will be employed at Lahinch Leisure Centre, 8 full-time and 9 part-time, the numbers will alter based on the season. Staff are locally based with one new member travelling from Hungary to take up the position. Promoting positive health and advocating the fun side of leisure will be their agenda.

Staff Memebers Eoin Conlon (General Manager) Jamie Fitzgibbon (Supervisor) Dervlla Considine (Duty Manager) and Judit Pilisi (Duty Manager) at the newly opened Lahich Leisure Centre, Photograph: Natasha Barton

Doora native, Eoin Conlon is the General Manager of Lahinch Leisure Centre. With experience working at Grove Island, The Greenhills Leisure Club & Gym plus The Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre in Killaloe, he also holds a health and exercise studies degree from Waterford Institute of Technology which he followed up with a masters in health promotion and education at the University of Limerick.

He explained what caught his interest about the position in Lahinch. “Essentially it was the commitment shown by the Board of Directors, it’s a massively collaborative effort within the community, we raised €6m to refurbish this centre through various people including the County Council, philanthropic funding and from the community of Lahinch, Ennistymon and North Clare. Local businesses have also been very generous in their contributions, people know it is a very needed facility within the community, that whole social aspect really drew my attention”.

Refurbishing the centre took a period of two and a half years, the design was completed by Tomás McKenna and Tom McNamara with Jada Construction responsible for the building works. The “tireless work” of Cllr Shane Talty (FF), Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) and the Board of Directors plus the support of the community was acknowledged by Eoin. “The learner pool was one issue that was out of the budget initially, there was a lot of efforts from the community to get it included, then the funding was made available, it took time but it was put into the plans”.

Staff Memebers Eoin Conlon (General Manager) Jamie Fitzgibbon (Supervisor) Dervlla Considine (Duty Manager) and Judit Pilisi (Duty Manager) at the newly opened Lahich Leisure Centre, Photograph: Natasha Barton

There will be a wide pool of members signing up to the Leisure Centre, Eoin believed. “You’re talking all the way from Ballyvaughan to Cooraclare, it is quite a large area with places of Mid Clare like Inagh and Kilnamona close to us too. We know how important it is for the community and for children to get back doing swimming lessons, for local sports clubs to be a part of this process, there’s so many local clubs that will be able to use the facility”.

He has set the target of bringing in 650 to 700 members for year one. “It will fluctuate during the summer time, we will have a lot of tourists and people using the facility for the three months, they’ll be coming down in holiday homes and it fluctuates for the summer, if I could keep the membership numbers at 650 to 700 for the first year it will easily do that and the state of the art facilities that we do have will easily attract people into the centre. The gym was developed with TechnoGym so it is all their equipment, there has been huge investment in the equipment, we’ve really developed how people want to work out in this day and age, the dynamic training, yoga, pilates, we’ve developed our classes for the needs of the people that want to come into our centre, we’ve really done a bit of market research on what people want in terms of fitness and health, that shines through in our instructors and how they develop their programmes for people who come through the door”.

Photograph: Natasha Barton

Lahinch Leisure Centre can become a positive beacon for the area, he affirmed. “The last couple of years have been tough for the community here, it has been a trying and testing time for everybody, Lahinch Leisure Centre is a place where we want people to be healthy, fun, to promote and advocate their wellbeing to come back into a leisure centre after two and a half years and know they are welcome after having had such issues with COVID. It is for everyone, our staff has been working non-stop to get the best and make sure the place is up to the standard that people expect”.

Lahinch Leisure Centre officially opened on Friday (April 22nd).

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